Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Mississippi Governor Criticized for Proclaiming April as Confederate Heritage Month

Governor Haley Barbour of Mississippi received criticism from one of his constituents for recently proclaiming April as Confederate Heritage Month. He is the second governor to be attacked for such an act. Representative Robert Johnson, a Democratic Mississippi lawmaker from Natchez who is black, criticized Governor Barbour for failing to mention slavery in his proclamation. According to Rep. Johnson, people need to learn about the "abhorrent, violent, depraved actions of slavery." Saying he often hears white people say that blacks should forgive what happened in the past, he replied, "If they want us to forget and forgive, why don't they stop reminding us of what the Confederacy was?"

Really, Mr. Johnson? I have to wonder why an intelligent man of your stature displays such ignorance when it comes to the history of his own state. According to the Reverend Cecil Fayard, chaplain-in-chief for the Sons of Confederate Veterans,who lives in Mississippi, "the War Between the States was fought for the same reasons that the tea party movement today is voicing their opinion. And that is that you have large government that's not listening to the people ... there's going to be heavy taxation. And the primary cause of the war was not slavery, although slavery was interwoven into the cause, but it was not the cause for the War Between the States." Nine out of ten soldiers, both North and South, were not fighting for slavery. And the war was not brought on by the issue of slavery, but because of economic reasons. It goes back to the same thing I've been saying all along: the Confederacy, as well as the flags that represent it, should not automatically be associated with slavery or the KKK. Governor Barbour supports honoring Confederates because it publicizes the "rich heritage" of the South. This is the seventh consecutive year that he has made such a proclamation, and hadn't received any criticism until now.

Last week, Governor Bob McDonnell of Virginia changed his proclamation to include mentioning slavery as "evil and inhumane" after coming under national criticism. However, Governor Barbour stated on CNN over the weekend that slavery was bad, but the fuss caused by Governor McDonnell's proclamation "doesn't amount to diddly."

"The Northern onslaught upon slavery was no more than a piece of specious humbug designed to conceal its desire for economic control of the Southern states." - Charles Dickens, 1862

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